Hit the Trails

Susie Morgan - September 3, 2014

HELP NEEDED:  Please review this sequence of events impacting the status of the Multi-Use trails in the Galisteo Basin Preserve.

BACKGROUND:  Since 2006, Commonweal Conservancy, the nonprofit organization that founded and manages the Galisteo Basin Preserve, has contributed more than $80,000 to plan, construct and maintain the publicly accessible trail network and the three trailheads at the Preserve. Over the past two years, REI, the PNM Resources Foundation and Santa Fe Fat Tire Society have contributed $32,000 to construct 6.3 miles of hike/bike and Multi-Use trails.  By the end of 2014, 25 miles of the planned 50-mile trail network will have been built. Of that, only 8 miles are Multi-Use; 17 miles are open to hikers and bikers only – excluding horses.

Earlier this year, in an effort to clarify which of the Preserve trails were accessible to different user groups, Commonweal posted signs prohibiting horses from trails that have always been designated as hike/bike trails.  Commonweal was attempting to preserve the tread of the hike/bike trails, which can be damaged from the weight of the horses especially when trails are wet and muddy.

TODAY:  The Santa Fe County Horse Coalition is partnering with Commonweal to address the two items that are most critical to developing more Multi-Use trails at the Preserve: Money and Manpower.

“Hit the Trails” trail building date is scheduled for Sunday, 8:30 to 1:30 p.m., on October 12, 2014.  REI is supporting the construction and improvement of five miles of hike/bike and Multi-Use trails in September and October. Commonweal staff says that horsemen in general are absent when it comes to sweat equity; riders just don’t show up to build trails. So, this is an important half day. The weather should be cool - ideal for trail building. 

Saturday, October 11th, “Hit the Trails” fundraising trail ride is scheduled at the Preserve with a picnic to follow. So, if labor is not in the cards; come ride? The suggested donation is $100 per participant including the picnic. The funds are earmarked for Multi-Use trail building. The number of riders is limited to 50 due to the severe lack of trailer parking at the Preserve.  For this event only, all trails will be open to horses except the Elizas’ Ridge Trail and the trails that are currently under construction.

WHY WE ALL LOVE GALISTEO BASINGalisteo Basin is a naturally diverse and beautiful riding area close to Santa Fe. Here, like few others, Mother Nature creates the arroyo walls like a painter’s pallet in swirls of brown, tan, chalk, red, terra cotta and charcoal. The arroyos are ever-changing due to erosion and put on a spectacular show at any time of year. The surrounding hills are dotted with grasses and conifers offering spectacular views of the Sangres and Ortiz mountains and Texas.

While the arroyos are irresistible for their colors and rock formations, no one can ride all day in that deep sand – less the horse becomes fatigued and bow a tendon.  On many summer days, the arroyos are impossible due to extreme heat and the absence of any breeze. And, in monsoon season, the arroyos present a danger to riders and horses. Therefore, creating more Multi-Use trails increases the enjoyment for all, regardless of mode of transportation.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:  Four things – please do as many as possible:
1. Simply donate, please send a check payable to Galisteo Basin Preserve Commonweal Conservancy for the creation of more Multi-Use trails and mail c/o Sue Murphy, 39 Via Pampa Santa Fe NM 87506
2. Sign up for the Trail Ride, please email suemurphy723@earthlink.net
3. If you can participate in the trail building morning on October 12th, please email suemurphy723@earthlink.net so your names are recorded.
4. Spread the word.

For more information, please visit these websites: